search by author or title

Carrying the Heart

Exploring the Worlds Within Us


F. Gonzalez-Crussi (View Bio)
Hardcover: Kaplan Publishing, 2009.

Carrying the Heart

Drawing abundantly from episodes of history as well as literature, anecdotes, philosophy, humor, anthropology, and medical science, Dr. F. Gonzalez-Crussi aims to amuse, instruct, and enhance awareness of our internal anatomical organs. Today, when organ transplants and surgical "re-modeling" threaten to reduce human nature to a mere mechanism, there are bodily things essential for everyone to know and understand. This unique book explores a number of our major organ systems: the Digestive System, from ideas on the function of the stomach in antiquity and pre-modern times to breakthrough studies on a human being with a gastric fistula that provided a window to his insides; Eschatology, the psychological meanings of the intestinal excretory function, including the idea that harmful "toxic products" exist, the impact of this notion on medical practice, and the theorists who carried the notion of intestinal toxicity to extremes-with disastrous consequences; the Respiratory System, ideas of lung function in antiquity and the place of air in ancient thought, with a history of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and the stories of Chopin, George Sand, and tuberculosis, and of Dr. Laennec, inventor of the stethoscope; the Reproductive System, with stories and legends of the uterus and penis; and finally our fascinating, complex Cardiovascular System.  This is more wonderful reading from "an author without peer in our time," as the American Library Association's Booklist magazine has described him.

Awarded the 2014 “Premio Letterario Merck” which recognizes work “that builds bridges between literature and science” by authors with “an outstanding ability to combine the scientific importance of research with a literary writing style.”

"González-Crussi is a master stylist, an erudite and witty raconteur, a magician with words, an author without peer in our time." — Booklist

"Each of the book’s five sections offer eye-opening anecdotes from the past…. I learned amazing things. By helping to place our current understandings of medical knowledge in a thoughtful perspective, Carrying the Heart is an important addition to the medical canon." — Daniel Ofri, M.D., The Lancet

"He consistently proves himself a remarkable raconteur, with a seemingly endless supply of engrossing anecdotes." — American Scholar

"Widely popular pathologist Gonzalez-Crussi returns with another collection of essays on medical history and anatomy. In his latest volume, he contemplates the digestive, excretory, respiratory, reproductive, and cardiovascular systems. Gonzalez-Crussi has a knack for locating intriguing tales from the past that illustrate how anatomical processes were viewed prior to this century and how those historical values and perspectives may influence our views today. His captivating and quirky outlook on human anatomy and physiology will entertain a wide variety of readers. While many of the vignettes border on the outlandish, others can be quite touching and thought-provoking, such as his consideration of the ‘cognition of the heart.’ A book that can be read, reread, discussed, and dissected, this compendium is highly recommended for academic and public libraries." — Library Journal

"It’s this attention to language that makes the book so enjoyable—rarely are academics so stirring in their writing. Stimulating, artful medical history." — Kirkus Reviews

"A fascinating look at our attempts to understand the human body’s inner workings…. González-Crussi, a professor emeritus of pathology at Northwestern University Medical School, has a special talent for finding memorable cases to illustrate his medical histories. Carrying the Heart teems with them…. Believe me. If medical books were half as entertaining as Carrying the Heart, we might see a few of them pop up on the best-seller lists." — Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Up Back to Top